Category Archives: Missiles & Guided Weapons

Production Contract

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $414 million contract from the U.S. Navy and Air Force for Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) production. This is the largest LRASM production contract in the history of the program.

LRASM
Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile provides unmatched offensive anti-surface warfare capabilities for our U.S. warfighters

The combined Lot 4/5 contract continues production of the air-launched variant of LRASM, now operational on the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer.

«This contract reflects LRASM’s increasing significance to our customers’ missions. Focused teamwork around a shared vision with our customers and our dedicated supply partners remains key to this program’s success», said David Helsel, LRASM director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «We look forward to continuing our important work and growing our capabilities and platforms».

LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships by employing advanced technologies that reduce dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments. LRASM will play a significant role in ensuring military access to operate in open ocean, owing to its enhanced ability to discriminate and conduct tactical engagements from extended ranges.

LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER). It is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force warfighters in contested environments. LRASM provides an operational capability for the U.S. Navy’s offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement.

Maritime HAROP

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to Provide Loitering Munitions Systems to Asian Countries in Deals Worth Over $100 Million USD.

HAROP
HAROP System

Three recently-signed deals include the sale of ROTEM Vertical Take-Off & Landing (VTOL) Tactical Loitering Munition and Land and Naval version of the HAROP system announces the signing of three significant contracts valued at over $100 million USD, in which it will supply loitering munitions systems to several countries. The contracts include winning an international tender for the sale of the multi-purpose ROTEM system to a foreign country, sale of the naval version of the HAROP system to the navy of a country in Asia and sale of the ground version of the HAROP system to another customer in Asia.

Boaz Levy, IAI’s President and CEO, said: «IAI is a global pioneer in developing the operational concept of a loitering munitions systems, which has ripened to a family of unique and accurate attack systems. These systems, which have added impressive achievements to the operational capability of fighting forces around the globe, constitute central and decisive attack components for advanced battlefields of the future. These contracts are further proof of the importance and confidence modern armies place in accurate munitions systems as part of their arsenal, and may be harbingers of additional business activity in this field. IAI will continue to develop and improve a range of strike systems in order to give its clients around the world a precise operational solution».

The Maritime HAROP system provides an operational solution for a range of vessels, from off-shore vessels to fighting frigates in the naval theater. In a complex naval theater, the HAROP system gives mission commanders in a fleet of ships the capability to independently and organically collect intelligence, assess targets and strike. The intelligence gathered by the HAROP is directly integrated in the vessel’s control room and allows for quick, accurate and lethal decision-making. Use of the HAROP on naval platforms is an operational alternative and complementary element to using sea-sea missiles, with a wide range of uses and with optimal cost-efficiency for the navy. The maritime and land combat-proven HAROP provides an operational solution for a range of low and high-intensity conflict scenarios and for anti-terrorism activity. The HAROP is equipped with day/night cameras and has the ability to search, find and attack with maximum precision both static and moving targets, on land or at sea and at a long-range. A strike can take place from any direction and at any angle of attack.

ROTEM is the first VTOL Tactical Loitering Munition combat-proven and used in operations by several of the world’s militaries as a small loitering device based on a drone platform and is a power multiplier for tactical forces in a range of fighting scenarios, including security operations and maneuvers. The system provides a reconnaissance, observation and attack envelope with maximum autonomous performance, integrating a simple and intuitive operation interface that can be used by a single fighter from a touchscreen tablet. The ROTEM VTOL Tactical Loitering Munition carries day/night cameras and a warhead weighing up to one kilogram and is optimally designed to carry out combined missions of intelligence gathering and attack. The system incorporates a unique safety mechanism that enables its safe return to the fighter on the ground if an attack was not carried out. The ROTEM system has proven its operational effectiveness for precise, surgical strikes against a range of different targets.

The loitering munitions family developed by IAI includes the Harpy-NG – a third generation of the system homing against radiating targets, the HAROP, a second-generation of a precision electro-optical attack system, the Mini-Harpy, dual (Electro-optical day & night + Anti-Radiation seeker) tactical advanced munitions system and the tactical loitering Green-Dragon system, as well as the ROTEM VTOL Tactical Loitering Munition. IAI is a focal point of national and global technological know-how in the field of attack systems, air defense, radars, satellites, remotely operated aircraft, civilian aviation and cyber.

Beyond Line of Sight

MBDA has carried out the first demonstration of the operational capabilities of LYNKEUS Dismounted, comprising the MMP system in «infantry» configuration and a Novadem NX70 drone linked via radio to its weapon terminal.

MMP
Successful MMP firing with target designation made by a Novadem drone

Carried out with the support of the French Army and of the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA – French Procurement Agency) at the Canjuers military camp in the south of France, this firing was representative of a ‘Beyond Line Of Sight’ (BLOS) engagement.

During this demonstration, the drone enabled the detection and identification of a tank located outside the MMP operator’s field of vision. The transfer of the coordinates for the target to the MMP firing station illustrated the possibility of engaging a target not directly seen by the operator. The missile was «locked-on» to the target during its flight by the MMP operator after detecting the tank via the video stream from the MMP seeker, which was continuously transmitted to the firing station via fibre optics. The demonstration successfully concluded with a direct hit on the target.

This demonstration confirms the capabilities offered by LYNKEUS for the quality and control of the information chain going from the drone to the firing station. It also proves the precision of the extraction of the coordinates for the target.

Philippe Gouyon, Military Advisor at MBDA, said: «This firing also concludes a year-long tactical evaluation conducted with the Army and Novadem exploring all the capabilities of the system and thus, allows MBDA to propose an MMP/drone combination that meets the needs of remote observation and target designation of contact units. These experiments notably included real-time engagement simulations in virtual reality but also combining, in the field, real equipment (drones, weapon terminal) and MMP simulators implemented by Land Forces units. We are very satisfied with the results of this work, which made it possible to understand the forces’ needs to finalize the system carrying the BLOS capability for dismounted combat».

The collaborative engagement capacity allowing firing ‘beyond line of sight’ is a breakthrough operational concept, supported at European level by the participants in the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) BLOS project.

Principal strike weapon

Strike fighters flying from Royal Navy aircraft carriers will be armed with the next-generation of lethal missiles following a £550m deal.

SPEAR3
Carriers’ F-35 jets to get next-generation air-to-ground missile

SPEAR3 will become the principal strike weapon of the F-35B Lightning II jets operating from the decks of HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and HMS Prince of Wales (R09).

Designed to knock out warships, tanks and armoured vehicles, missile launchers, bunkers, radar posts and air defence batteries, the new missile can be fired at such long range – more than 140 kilometres (nearly 90 miles) – it should keep the Navy and Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots out of harm’s way from enemy ground defences.

Defence firm MBDA has been awarded £550m to equip the Lightning Force – based at RAF Marham – with the new weapon, which has been developed over the past decade and will be introduced to the front line over the next seven years.

Weighing under 90 kg/198 lbs. and just 1.8 metres/5.9 feet long, SPEAR3 – Select Precision Effects At Range missile No.3 – is powered at high subsonic speeds by a turbojet engine, can operate across land and sea, day or night, and strike at moving and stationary targets.

It will support 700 jobs in the UK – 190 of them highly-skilled technology jobs in system design, guidance control and navigation and software engineering – at sites around the country including Bristol, Stevenage and Bolton.

Testing, simulation and trials will include controlled firings from a Typhoon aircraft before the missile is delivered to Marham and the Portsmouth-based carriers for front-line operations.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight: < 100 kg/220 lbs.
Length < 2 m/6.56 feet
Diameter 180 mm/7 inches
Operational range 140 kilometres/90 miles

 

Sea Venom

The Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship missile has completed its qualification firings trials, with a successful final firing at the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) test site at Ile du Levant on 17 November.

Sea Venom/ANL
MBDA completes qualification firing trials of the Sea Venom/ANL missile

Soon to start equipping the Royal Navy’s AW159 Wildcat and Marine nationale’s H160M Guépard shipborne helicopters, the Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship missile is a co-operation project developed under the Lancaster House treaty between France and the United Kingdom. The Sea Venom/ANL missile is the first programme to take full advantage of the cross-border centres of excellence on missile technologies launched by the Lancaster House treaty, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary this month.

The final qualification trial tested the missile’s advanced target discrimination within a complex and cluttered naval scenario.

Éric Béranger, MBDA CEO, said: «I want to congratulate the UK-French teams across both MBDA and our governments for the commitment they have shown in meeting this qualification milestone amid the disruption caused by Covid-19. Together they have proven that through co-operation we can jointly overcome adversity and deliver leading edge military capabilities».

Previous trials have tested the missiles launch envelope, release envelope and engagement modes, such as its low-altitude sea-skimming flight, Lock On After Launch (LOAL), Lock On Before Launch (LOBL), operator-in-the-loop, and aimpoint refinement.

Missile for the Tiger

French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly has announced that MBDA is to develop the Future Tactical Air-to-Surface Missile (MAST-F) program as the main French Army air to ground armament for the Tiger combat helicopter.

MAST-F
MBDA to develop the combat missile for the Tiger helicopter

MBDA was selected after proposing to the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA – French Procurement Agency) its MHT/MLP concept (Missile Haut de Trame/Missile Longue Portée – high tier missile/long-range mobile missile) that builds on the technologies of the mid-range Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP), the first 5th generation land combat missile to enter service around the world. Its modular architecture enables easy integration of the MHT/MLP onto a variety of land or air combat platforms in addition to the Tiger.

The MHT/MLP is characterised by its high operational effectiveness. Weighing 20% less than other missiles in its category provides a weight saving of nearly 100 kg/220 lbs. for the Tiger helicopter, which can carry up to eight missiles in combat configuration. Exploiting this weight saving increases the Tiger’s fuel capacity and so its combat endurance, with a significant gain in «Playtime».

The MHT/MLP has a range of over 8 km/5 miles, even when fired from a stationary platform at low altitude. Its multi-effect warhead can handle a wide variety of targets, from modern battle tanks to hardened combat infrastructure. The MHT/MLP performs day or night, including in Beyond-Line-Of-Sight (BLOS) mode, with a two-way data link that sends images from the missile’s high-resolution visible and infrared optronic seeker back to the operator. The crew of the Tiger can use this imagery to choose the missile’s point of impact or to select a new target in flight, making the weapon suitable for fluid battlefield situations.

Commenting on the launch of the programme, MBDA CEO Eric Béranger declared: «The MHT/MLP missile combines new technologies, developed with the support of the DGA, with the tried and tested components of the MMP, making it an effector at the forefront of today’s tactical land combat missiles. It offers a flexibility of use unmatched in today’s armed forces, while minimising development risks. And with its all-European design authority, the MHT/MLP programme will fully contribute to the strategic autonomy objectives set by France and the European Union».

«With nearly 350 jobs per year over the next five years and, ultimately, around 250 annual jobs in France during the first 10 years of its production, the development and production of this new missile will help maintain of the national industrial and technological base, and in particular in the Centre region», he added.

Officially handed over

National/Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) medium-range air defence systems has been officially handed over to the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Representatives of the National Defence System and Kongsberg, Norwegian manufacturer of NASAMS, signed a document certifying good testing results of the system on October 30 at the Lithuanian Armed Forces Air Defence Battalion. On that moment Lithuania became a full-fledged owner of the systems that had been delivered to the Air Defence Battalion from Norway in the summer this year.

NASAMS
NASAMS medium-range air defence system officially handed over to the Lithuanian Armed Forces

«Guarded airspace is among the most critical enablers for Allies to deploy into the region if such a necessity arises», Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says. «We have acquired a fully assembled and integrated mid-range air defence capability, something we were in need and short of so far, in NASAMS. This, to a degree, fills one of the worst gaps in national defence – airspace security».

Minister also points out the excellent synergy among the Lithuanian and the Norwegian Defence Ministries, the Lithuanian Air Force and Kongsberg that has enabled the implementation of such a critical project within the set timeline and financial limits.

«Arrival of the system enhances Lithuania’s airspace defence and further strengthens deterrence. When we link together all the components of collective defence, we get the good result that makes potential adversaries think twice on their intents and gives more security and discretion to us», Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupšys underscores.

NASAMS is the most widely used medium-range air defence system across NATO. Lithuania has acquired the latest, third generation system (NASAMS 3) which is still used by the manufacturer, Norway, only.

NASAMS 3 comprises command post fire distribution centres, missile canister launchers, communications equipment, etc. The procurement has been coupled with upgrading of the short-range air defence systems RBS-70 in possession of the Lithuanian Armed Forces – the two systems will be integrated into the overall Lithuanian air defence shield.

Specialized staff began training to operate the new acquisition back in late 2019, in Norway, using training methodology and programmes developed by the Norwegian Armed Forces and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. Later the training was continued in Lithuania – Norwegian experts and Lithuanian military have been working on it at the Air Defence Battalion. Staff training is planned to be completed and integration of the Lithuanian NASAMS into the NATO Integrated Air Defence System begun by 2021.

The MoD Work Group analysed mid-range air defence systems available on the market to implement the NASAMS procurement project. Potential procurements were assessed according to such criteria as efficiency, compatibility with the systems used by other NATO allies, maintenance and repair costs, timetable of delivery, etc. NASAMS was selected as the closest choice to the formulated requirement and criteria.

The contract on procuring the NASAMS mid-range air defence system for the Lithuanian Air Force was signed on 26 October 2017 by the Ministry of National Defence and Norway’s Kongsberg, NASAMS manufacturer. The contract has made the cooperation between Lithuania and Norway stronger, which is very important to the security of the Baltic region allies in the current geopolitical context.

Harpoon Missiles

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) of up to one hundred (100) Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.37 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II
By approving the sale of 500 Harpoon anti-ship missiles to Taiwan, the United States is reinforcing the island’s ability to defend itself against an amphibious invasion, but is also ratcheting up the ongoing war of words with China (US Navy photo)

TECRO has requested to buy up to one hundred (100) Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS) consisting of up to four hundred (400) RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles; and four (4) RTM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Exercise Missiles.

Also included are four hundred and eleven (411) containers, one hundred (100) Harpoon Coastal Defense System Launcher Transporter Units, twenty-five (25) radar trucks, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.

The total estimated program cost is $2.37 billion.

This proposed sale is consistent with U.S. law and policy as expressed in Public Law 96-8.

This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability. The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, economic and progress in the region.

This proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a flexible solution to augment existing surface and air defenses. The recipient will be able to employ a highly reliable and effective system to counter or deter maritime aggressions, coastal blockades, and amphibious assaults. This capability will easily integrate into existing force infrastructure. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be The Boeing Company, St. Louis, Missouri. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of two (2) U.S. contractor representatives to the recipient for a duration of 8 years to support technical reviews, support, and oversight.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

Naval Strike Missile

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Romania of Naval Strike Missile (NSM) Coastal Defense Systems (CDS) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $300 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

Naval Strike Missile (NSM)
The Naval Strike Missile was developed by Norway’s Kongsberg, and is now being marketed internationally by Raytheon. Romania has been cleared to buy two coastal defense versions with four mobile launchers (Kongsberg photo)

The Government of Romania has requested to buy two (2) Coastal Defense Systems (CDS) consisting of up to ten (10) Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System – Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS-JTRS).

Also included are two Coastal Defense System Fire Distribution Centers; four Mobile Launch Vehicles; Transport Loading Vehicles; Naval Strike Missiles; non-operational Inert Handling/Loading Missile (IHM) to support missile handling and loading/unloading; training missile and equipment spares; associated containers; training and training equipment; publications and technical documentation; spares parts; loading and mobile maintenance support; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

The estimated total cost is $300 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO Ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability. This proposed sale will enhance U.S. national security objectives in the region.

The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by improving Romania’s maritime defense capabilities in the Black Sea and increasing interoperability with the United States. Romania will use this long-range, precision strike weapon to enhance mission effectiveness, survivability, and NATO interoperability in current and future missions and operations. Romania will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal U.S. contractor will be Raytheon Missile and Defense, Tucson, AZ. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of the proposed sale will require U.S. Government and contractor personnel to visit Romania on a temporary basis in conjunction with program technical oversight and support requirements, including program and technical reviews, as well as to provide training and maintenance support in country.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law. The description and dollar value is for the highest estimated quantity and dollar value based on initial requirements. Actual dollar value will be lower depending on final requirements, budget authority, and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.

Air Defence System

On the occasion of the Euronaval-Online exhibition, MBDA announces the commercial launch of its new Vertical Launch (VL) Missile D’interception, de Combat et D’autodéfense (MICA – interception, combat and self-defence missile) New Generation (NG) air defence system.

VL MICA NG
MBDA launches the new VL MICA NG air defence system

The VL MICA NG system is based on the integration into the existing VL MICA system of the MICA NG anti-air missile, which began development in 2018 primarily to equip France’s Rafale combat aircraft. The VL MICA system family – now adopted, in its naval or land-based versions, by 15 armed forces around the world – will consequently benefit from enhanced potential to counter future threats.

About the VL MICA NG system, MBDA CEO Eric Béranger declared: «After two years of development on the New Generation MICA missile, we have acquired a deep understanding of the performance of this brand new air-to-air missile which allows us, in full confidence, to market its integration into VL MICA ground-to-air or surface-to-air defence systems. The total compatibility between the two generations of missile will allow armed forces to combine them with their existing systems, thus maximizing their return on investments».

Thanks to the technological innovations it incorporates, the new VL MICA NG system offers improved capabilities to handle atypical targets (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAVs], small aircraft) as well as future threats, characterised by increasingly low observable infrared and radio frequency signatures. Additionally, it will be able to intercept at longer distances the ‘conventional’ targets (aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles) already addressed by the current VL MICA system.

The dimensions of the MICA NG munition remain unchanged, allowing it to be integrated into existing VL MICA launchers. The existing missile data link mechanisms are compatible with the increased kinematic performance of the missiles, enabling current VL MICA systems to be upgraded to VL MICA NG standard by simple software updates.

 

About the MICA NG missile

Based on an entirely new design, the MICA NG missile inherits the external dimensions and unique concept that has made the MICA anti-air missile such a success for a quarter of a century. This concept means MICA features either an infrared or a radio frequency seeker on the same common missile body, allowing the operator, at the moment of firing, to select the best option to respond to the tactics adopted by the adversary.

On the MICA NG, a new infrared seeker based on a matrix sensor will provide increased sensitivity, while a new radio frequency seeker with an Active Electronically Scanned Antenna (AESA) will allow for smart detection strategies. The lower volume of electronic components will enable the MICA NG to carry a larger load of propellant, significantly extending its range, and the new dual-pulse rocket motor will provide additional energy to the missile at the end of its flight, improving its manoeuvrability and its ability to intercept targets at long range. In surface-to-air mode, the MICA NG will be able to intercept targets over 40 km/25 miles away. Finally, maintenance and ownership costs will be significantly reduced thanks to internal sensors that will monitor the status of the munition throughout its life cycle.

The MICA NG missile will be available in series production from 2026.